3-01 Why did the feudal system last in Europe until modern times, but it stopped more than 2,000 years ago in China?
There are some people refer to the history of ancient China from the Qin to the Qing dynasty as the feudal era. But for my instinct, this is not true.
The feudal era is characterised by multiple levels of co-governance. Below the king there was a series of nobles of different ranks, such as dukes, marquises, burgesses, and so on. The king did not have direct authority over the people and property under the nobility. The nobility had direct property rights or first class taxation rights (direct taxation rights). The king owned the nobility and had a secondary right of taxation (indirect taxation). The king, of course, also owned the part of land and then had first class taxation rights (direct taxation rights) over a part of his/her state. In Europe this feudal system of administration did not last only until modern times, but in fact until the dissolution of the colonial system in the 1950s. In India and Indonesia, for example, the British system of packet taxation, which had been in place, was a secondary taxation system (indirect taxation power) derived from the feudal aristocracy.
Even by less stringent standards, the United States and Canada today still retain the characteristics of a feudal system. It is the central government that has the second level of taxation. At the same time, each province or state has the first level of taxation. For example, in Ontario, of the 13% of sales tax, 5% is collected federally and 8% goes directly to the province. At the same time, the College of Surgeons administers the admissions and professional examinations of physicians and collects an annual registration fee and administration fee. Even barbers and manicurists must be regulated by the association, qualify and pay an annual registration fee and administration fee, also exactly similar to the aristocracy in feudal times, which had a first class taxation power over the population under its jurisdiction.
China used to have the same kind of management system. But it ended over 2,000 years ago. From the Qin dynasty in ancient China, the feudal system ceased to be the basic system of state administration in China. China’s central government had one level of administration and one level of taxation over the entire national system. The taxation of the whole country was centralised and dispatched in a unified manner. We should think of a good name for such a political system that has lasted for more than 2,000 years. It is time to do so. (Notice by Ye QiQuan)